Tips for Avoiding the Holiday Gut Gain

It’s the holidays, food is everywhere, and you’re worried about gaining weight. Trust me I am too. This time of year is filled with tasty treats from Thanksgiving all the way to Valentine’s Day and I love good food. It doesn’t have to be stressful though and I’m going to give you a few tips to avoid the holiday glut and kick start your New Year’s weightloss resolution a few months early.

First off and I cannot stress this enough; do not take weightloss or health advice from those who have not achieved and maintained the body composition you’re aiming for. Women you’re the worst offenders at this and it drives me mad. Listening to the pudgy girl in your office, your mother, your sister, or your best friend talk about some new diet or weightloss trick is like asking a starving man where to get some food; if he knew he wouldn’t be starving would he? If your acquaintances  really knew how to eat smart and live healthy than she wouldn’t be looking for a new diet every six weeks; would they? Listen to professionals with a proven track record of sustainable success.

My stepmother never listened and today she’s struggling with heart disease and a host of health issues. There I was a certified fitness trainer with years of experience and success at maintaining a low body fat percentage and healthy life and she would never listen to a word I said. Every week there was some new crash diet going around her workplace that she was trying. Without fail she would drop it after a few days then move onto something else. Let me share a secret with you. Extreme diets and weird gimmicks aren’t sustainable. My stepmother’s real issue was that she wanted a shortcut to fitness. I was offering a long hard road filled with dedication and discipline. She wasn’t interested.

Tip number 2; workout first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. I mean early too. High Intensity workouts first thing in the morning are one of the most widely used but least talked about successful methods for trimming down body fat. After a full night’s sleep your body’s supply of quick carbs is pretty much spent and working out this early, before breakfast will shock your body into burning it’s fat stores for fuel. Of course it’s important that you eat a good breakfast immediately after. This means if you’re up a 5 and workout by 6 than you’d better have breakfast by 7 and no later! Consequently these calories will be whisked away by your depleted muscles and used for repair instead of stored as fat.

Related to this make sure your breakfast has some Carbs, Healthy Fats, and protein and in that order. Good carbs come from vegetables, organic oatmeal, sweet potatoes, organic whole milk, or if you have nothing else available; fruit. DO NOT eat anything containing wheat or gluten. The same goes for processed sugar. Protein is important but it should be the smallest part of your breakfast. You can eat larger portions of protein for lunch and dinner to help balance it out. One last thing; bacon is delicious and technically “Paleo” but let’s be serious it’s mostly fat with very little protein. Eat some organic sausage made from beef or chicken instead or eggs, which are filled with protein, vitamins and minerals, and healthy fats.

Tip number 3; if you’re going to a party workout a few hours before hand and really hit it hard. This will change your insulin resistance and also persuade your muscles to claim most of the carbs from the party and use them for fuel instead of allowing them to be stored as fat. Also eat a substantial meal before the party. Simply put it will fill you up and make you less likely to binge on party favors. If you’re going to drink try to limit the amount and guys stay away from light beers. I know it sounds counter intuitive but they’re pretty much sugar water. Drink dark or stout beers not only are they more filling, but have higher alcohol content, but also pack a ton of anti-oxidants and helpful compounds. You can drink less get just as buzzed and tell yourself you were technically drinking a healthy beverage. The reality is it would be best to not drink at all but the fact that you did a killer workout earlier in the day will help mitigate some of the damage compared to drinking on days when you don’t work out.

Finally Holiday tip number 4; just because it’s cold doesn’t mean you should keep your workouts indoors. Your body burns significantly more calories during the winter just to keep you warm. Head outside for a run, or do your weightlifting on the porch. Trust me once you get going it won’t seem nearly as cold and it might actually make it more enjoyable. Down here in the south workout in the heat are hell and after just the warm-up you’re dripping sweat and overheating. I relish my times up north and can’t wait to move back in a few weeks.

Obviously all the tips I just gave you are going to be worth exactly squat if you don’t combine them with a healthy diet and sound exercise program. There are a few other things that can help you this season like simply skipping seconds or avoiding places and foods that might tempt you. In the end the single biggest factor in avoiding holiday weight gain is personal responsibility. Have a happy holiday season and remember it’s on you to stay on track and give yourself the body and health you deserve. Don’t cheat yourself.

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